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Minority business trailblazer Dr. Andrea Harris died Wednesday after battling a “long illness” at Duke Raleigh Medical Center. She was 72 years old.

In response to her death, Gov. Roy Cooper released the following statement and ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff in her honor :

“Andrea Harris was a trailblazer who never stopped fighting for social and racial equity in our state. When doors were intentionally shut, she broke through for women and minority-owned businesses to succeed, modeled excellence in advocacy and mentored scores of freedom fighters. She left an indelible impact on North Carolina’s business and African American communities, and she will be missed. Kristin and I send our prayers and deepest condolences to her friends and loved ones.”


Harris co-founded the North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development, alongside long time friend Lew Myers, in 1986 and spent more than 25 years leading the Institute. Harris went on to receive many awards and recognitions as her efforts helped to develop thousands of businesses owned by women and people of color across North Carolina.

Trailblazer Dr. Andrea Harris Passed Away At 72  was originally published on